The National League East is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. The Atlanta Braves have the most National League East titles (12). Most of Atlanta's NL East titles came during a record stretch of reaching MLB playoffs 14 consecutive times (There were no playoffs in 1994 and the first three titles of that streak came when the Braves were in the National League West.)
The division was created when the National League (along with the American League) added two expansion teams and divided into two divisions, East and West effective for the 1969 season. The National League's geographical alignment was rather peculiar as its partitioning was really more north and south instead of east and west. Two teams in the Eastern Time Zone, the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds, were in the same division as teams on the Pacific coast. This was due to the demands of the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, who refused to support expansion unless they were promised they would be kept together in the newly created East division.
During the two-division era, from 1969 to 1993, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates together owned more than half of the division titles, having won a combined 15 of 25 championships during that span. They were also the only teams in the division to have won consecutive titles during that span.
When the National League realigned into three divisions in 1994, the Pittsburgh Pirates were originally supposed to stay in the East while the Braves were to be moved to the newly created National League Central. However, the Braves, wanting to form a natural rivalry with the expansion Florida Marlins, elected to be placed in the East. Despite the Marlins offering to go to the Central, the Pirates instead gave up its spot in the East to the Braves. Since then, the Pirates have tried several times unsuccessfully to be placed back in the East.
** – Starting with the 2012 season, there will be two Wild Card winners in each league. The qualifiers will play a single-game playoff to determine who will face the top-seeded team in the National League Division Series.